Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jack & Michael Part 1

First off, dear readers, let me apologize for the two months or so that I've let this blog go without entries! I'm a freelance writer, and I started the Two Losties blog when I had a bit of a lull between jobs, and then work picked up a bit, and the first thing I ditched, unfortunately... was Two Losties. Work is still going fine, but now I'm going to try to get back in the groove of posting these little character analysis pieces on a semi-regular basis again. What I might do is to try to make them a bit shorter, but knowing my tendency to want to cover every little character beat, that probably won't actually happen. Who knows!

Anyway, I'm returning to Two Losties with two major characters who have actually only had one or two major storylines together: Jack and Michael. The main story element that ties Jack and Michael together is that Jack is very much defined as a son (to Christian), while almost Michael's entire story is about his role as father to Walt (aka WAAAAAALLLLLTTT!!!). Although early on, Christian was painted as being a "bad dad" to Jack, ultimately, I think Michael comes off as much more of a bad dad. Yes, Michael seemed to be obsessed with looking out for Walt, but he went to such extremes, including multiple murders, that he is the ultimate bad role model. Plus, he even made the horrible decision of telling Walt about Ana Lucia and Libby... like that's not going to emotionally scar Walt, because the implication is that Walt is the reason they died? Good call, Mikey !

Okay, let's start at the beginning. Jack and Michael were both passengers on Flight 815. In the first days after the crash, they had little interaction. Michael was off getting into fights with Jin, and not trusting Locke. Jack was, you know, being the heroic doctor type, but that didn't put him in direct contact with Michael much. Their first conversation was in Pilot Part 2, when Michael tells Jack that his son's dog is missing, and Jack says that he had seen Vincent in the woods (when he woke up). From the final "Missing Pieces" short, we know that Vincent was sent to wake up Jack by Christian, in his spooky Ghost Dad form.

When the Losties see their first split over the decision to move to the caves, Michael's initial decision is for him and Walt to stay on the beach, but that decision seems to only last an episode or two. Michael is at the caves in the very next episode ("The Moth"), as he uses his construction experience to help save Jack from the collapsed rocks. An interesting thing to note here is that Michael is one of the few Losties who has never received medical treatment from Jack, and yet he did have a major hand in saving Jack's life, the reversal of the relationship Jack has with most Losties.

In "Solitary," Jack and Michael are shown discussing building a shower at the caves, and they soon join Hurley, Charlie and Kate in the first round of golf on the Island. This includes one of the show's earliest, funniest moments, as the episode returns from the commercial break with a huddle between Jack and Michael, in which they seem to be discussing some really important decision, and then we see that they're discussing a golf shot. Although this is quite literally all fun and games, the golf story takes a darker turn when Walt shows up, noting that Michael left him alone at the cave, and when Michael offers to let Walt join in on the game, Walt refuses.

In "Special", Michael is once again shown looking for Walt, and he asks Jack if he listened to his "old man" when he was 10, and Jack says yes, "maybe a little too well." This is actually one of the rare occasions when Losties discuss fatherhood, considering what a central theme it is to the show. As Michael leaves, Hurley remarks that Michael seems to really hate being a dad, a point that he sticks to. One has to wonder if that isn't why Michael over compensates in the ways that he does, as if he has to prove to himself that he cares. Soon after, Michael interrupts Jack, Sayid and Shannon's discussion of Rousseau's map, declaring that they should be focusing on getting off the Island, and that he is going to start building a boat, which finally gives Michael a major story besides being Michael's dad and seeing Sun's boobs.

And that, folks, is where I'm going to leave Jack and Michael for now, having covered the first 14 episodes of season one. There's a lot more to talk about between these two men as we get into season two, but I figure stopping at the start of the "Michael's Raft" story is a good way to lead into all that... other stuff in the next column.